How to Make Owning a Home a Reality

How to Make Owning a Home a Reality

Home ownership is part of the American Dream and something on the must-have list for many of us. There is a feeling of pride and security that comes with owning your own home and it is an achievable goal if you work at it!

For my husband and I, the road of home ownership has taken a lot of twists and turns. As soon as we started planning to get married, we also started planning to buy a home. Since I tend to be thrifty (thus my site name Thrifty Jinxy), we had already been working on the first key to buying a home – saving money!! Every time we cut a coupon, ate at home instead of a restaurant, or passed on an expensive purchase, we knew that money could go toward a bigger goal of a home instead.

Ashland House

Our personal path started with us buying a condo down the street from our apartment. In our circumstances we paid a tiny amount of rent because we were living in the rent-controlled apartment my husband’s family had lived in for 20 years. So, we actually rented out that first home and kept living in the rent-controlled apartment, which let us do more SAVING!! We were glad we were patient because the following year a house across the street from our apartment came up for sale. It was a house my husband had always wanted to live in since he was a boy and we were glad we had taken the steps necessary to be able to buy that house!

Our First House in Minnesota

If you’re looking to buy a house for the first time, here are a few helpful tips from Capital One.

Tips for First-Time Homebuyers


  • Start the home buying process by figuring out how much home you can afford. It’s important to start looking in the right price range. A rule of thumb is to select houses that are 2.5 times your annual salary.
    — Ideally, your monthly housing payment shouldn’t be more than 28 percent of your gross household monthly income.
    –Use an online mortgage calculator to help figure out what you can afford.
  • Your financial history is important too. Lenders look at income, assets, job history, credit score, total debt and how much you’re willing to put down as a down payment.
  • The traditional estimate for a down payment is 20 percent of the purchase price of the house, which can lower your monthly payments and avoid mortgage insurance better than a lower down payment.
  • Remember that closing costs can add to the amount you need to close your loan and take possession of your new home. Look them over carefully, because they can vary from one lender to another.
  • Mortgages come in all shapes and sizes, and which one you choose depends on a lot of variables, including your budget, the amount you can afford to put down, the interest you’ll pay and the term length. All mortgages have pros and cons, but starting with at least a top-line understanding of what’s available is important as you save for this major purchase.

I’m glad that we followed these guidelines because they allowed us to not only buy our first home, but other houses over the years and also rental properties that have helped us to secure our future in other ways. Home ownership can be an important building block in your overall financial picture.

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If you’re thinking about the journey to home ownership, check out the Capital One Home Loans Online Neighborhood. It’s a free online resource where you can learn all about home buying. We’ve gathered easy-to-understand articles and helpful videos, as well as information about Capital One’s Home Loans offerings. This helpful tool covers all stages of the home buying process – from deciding whether now is even the right time to buy and how much home you can afford, to the documents you need to apply for a mortgage.

What is your home ownership dream?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

About Chrysa

Chrysa is the founder and owner of, a site dedicated to living a fabulous life on a frugal budget. Her approach is that by spending less on the boring everyday stuff, you can have more money to splurge on the things you REALLY want, whether it’s travel, fashion, electronics – you name it! Chrysa is married, has a 9-year old nephew she dotes on, as well as three lovable cats and a big sweetie of a German Shepherd.


  1. Robin Rue (@massholemommy) says:

    It seems like the process is so much easier now versus when I was buying my house 12 years ago!

  2. This is a great article! Owning your own home can be a difficult, time consuming proposition, so every little bit of information helps!

  3. Amy Desrosiers says:

    We bought our first home 5 years ago. We were saving for years so we were able to make it a reality before we were 25.

  4. Catherine S says:

    These are really great tips. We would like to buy another home in the next 5 years. We have already started a saving account for it.

  5. I remember buying our first home. I could have used these tips back then.

  6. These are good things to keep in mind. I didn’t know very much when we bought our first house!

  7. Such helpful info! We bought our first house 2 years ago.

  8. Owning a home was definitely one of the most stressful times of my life. Having these tips would have been so helpful when we were first buying

  9. We don’t own yet, we rent but we are hoping to own within the next 5-10 years. It just isn’t a reality right now for us, but hopefully by then it will be.

  10. We are actually in the process of buying a home. This will be our first home together as the home I am living in now was actually purchased with my husband and kiddos mom when they were married, 10 years ago. We’ve decided it would be best to get me back to the city and buy a home closer to hubs work. Thankfully MI has a ‘next step’ program with down payment assistance for those on their next home. I qualify for first time homebuyer, but he doesn’t. It is a long process right now, but hopefully we can work things out.

  11. I bought my first house at 18 and truly think it’s because my parents did such a great job of teaching me how to save and budget. Now I’m in my third home and it’s amazing to see how far I’ve come.

  12. great article for first timers like us, thanks so much!

  13. Online mortgage calculators are such wonderful tools! You’ve given some great advice for steps towards buying a house.

  14. These are great tips! Buying a home can be such a frustrating process.

  15. These are great tips! Particularly figuring out what you can afford. So many people jump into it being house poor.

  16. Ann Bacciaglia says:

    These are great tips. I will have to share this with my friend. She is just starting to look for her first house.

  17. Home ownership is the ultimate! It is a great investment in your future

  18. Owning your own home is such a good investment. Not to mention how important it is to set roots for a family.

  19. These are amazing tips. We bought our first home almost two years ago and could have used these tips.

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